There’s always so much happening in marketing, it can be hard to keep up. After all, marketers are at the forefront of connected customer experiences and delivering on everything brands promise. That’s a big responsibility.
At the start of Dreamforce 2019, Salesforce’s second annual Chief Marketing Officer Council convened to explore the forces shaping the future of marketing. Trailblazing Salesforce customers and other guest speakers from Salesforce Marketing Cloud and The Mission — creators of the Marketing Trends podcast — shared their thoughts on the changes and challenges coming to B2B marketing.
The future of marketing is all about customer experience, unified data, and brand building. Here’s what we learned about the how CMO’s can become future-proof as we head into 2020.
FOCUS ON CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
By 2023, it’s projected that 100% of customers will value a company’s experience as much as its product. Experience is about more than just marketing as we’ve conventionally known it. It’s not about an email campaign — it’s about how your brand is communicated to customers and experienced through every possible touchpoint.
In every industry, today’s digital transformations are all about putting customer experience at the center of what companies do. Customer journeys aren’t linear, and it’s important for companies to be flexible in meeting their audiences’ needs.
According to the 5th annual Salesforce “State of Marketing” report, 45% of marketing leaders say their organization is leading customer experience initiatives across the business — and it’s important for marketers to represent the voice of the customer in everything that takes place. If you aren’t a champion for your customers, they’ll go find a company that will be.
UNIFY YOUR DATA
Today, companies are dealing with more data sources than ever before, and that number will only continue to grow. That’s right — the number of data sources will only keep rising, along with customer expectations for personalized journeys. To get a 360-degree view of customers, today’s companies need a unified data strategy.
As a marketer, your goal should be to track every customer’s individual journey and get true multi-source attribution for every marketing touchpoint and consequent action, across marketing, sales, and service. This may seem like a far-off dream, but the technology exists today to make unified customer experiences a reality.
A 360-degree view of customers is essential because retention and engagement is everything — but only 47% of marketers have a completely unified view of customer data. Companies need to move quickly to define more comprehensive data strategies and own identity reconciliation across multiple sources and channels. This is the only way to map customer journeys to your messaging in truly relevant and meaningful ways.
In the future, B2B and B2C marketing experiences are going to look increasingly similar. Sixty-nine percent of business buyers already expect Amazon-like buying experiences, and it’s up to marketers to meet those expectations.
In the past, B2B marketers have historically trended toward short-term sales activation. Now, it’s time to think about technology-enabled long-term personalization strategies and how to create long-lasting relationships with customers. For example, account-based marketing is a great way for brands to connect individual customer accounts with customized content.
Unified data is the first step, but embracing the right technology is the key to success.
Today’s advancements in marketing technology are giving marketers the ability to automate previously manual processes, get a transparent view of all marketing activities, and answer tough business questions.
By embracing new technology, marketers are transforming into ‘growth marketers’ who aren’t just responsible for driving marketing performance — they’re now also working collaboratively across sales, service, commerce, IT, and beyond to impact business growth.
BUILD YOUR BRAND
While performance-based marketing is growing and provides a clearer link to business impact, brand-building remains vital. To match customer experiences with your brand promise, you need to start with genuine empathy.
Today’s shoppers are no longer making decisions based solely on price and availability. Instead, they’re looking to do business with brands they really connect with. Digital transformation is about empowering brands to meet customers where they are with resonant and relevant storytelling.
You can’t over-communicate your brand ethos. Be sure to commit to your core values across every touchpoint, and make your brand’s customer experiences your differentiator in the marketplace. Don’t fear feedback — make unbiased customer input transparent across your company, and invest in your customers as passionate brand advocates.
Check out more brand-building tips from top Trailblazers. Curious about what else the future has in store for marketers? Listen to the Marketing Trends podcast for the inside track.